Former buffet cars boost capacity on rail mainline
BUFFET cars will cater for commuters from Swindon in a different capacity as they aim to help ease train congestion.
The number of seats on rail services between London and the west has increased after 15 former buffet cars were among those converted to allow all high-speed services to have eight carriages.
Extra rolling stock was converted in Kilmarnock by Wabtec Rail Scotland, which will add an extra 84 seats to many of FGW’s High Speed Trains. Four other trains will be extended by using spare coaches.
In Swindon, trains have been increased from seven to eight carriages on eight peak services – six into London in the morning and two out of London in the evening.
Last summer, the Department for Transport revealed that the 10 most overcrowded commuter trains operating around London were all FGW services to or from Paddington station.
FGW managing director Mark Hopwood said: “We had to find a way to add capacity quickly on a railway facing electrification, which meant it was difficult to justify new-build trains.
“Our customers will see a big increase in the number of seats at the busiest times of the day but there is more to come.
“This is a short-term project but is part of a long-term effort to raise capacity on Great Western routes.”
Robert Buckland, Swindon South MP, said: “Any increase in capacity has got to be good news because I think all of us, myself included, have experienced the difficulty of having to stand on the train, and frankly that’s not good enough.
“And I think the increase in capacity will go some way to ease that pressure.
“But the fact remains that more and more people are using trains, which is a good thing, and therefore the new franchisee that’s going to come in in a couple of years’ times has got to have value for money and quality of service at the heart of its operations.”